September 13th, 2008
12:01 PM ET
15 years ago

Ike winds don't cool tone on the trail, as Obama blasts McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Obama and his camp aimed tough talk at McCain Saturday."]
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – In a shift from the apolitical tone the presidential candidates took during Hurricane Gustav, Barack Obama did not temper his rhetoric Saturday, as his spokesman accused John McCain of “cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.”

“John McCain wants to have a debate about national security let’s have that debate. I warned that going into Iraq would distract us from Afghanistan. John McCain cheer-leaded for it. John McCain was wrong and I was right,” Obama told a screaming New Hampshire crowd.

“The McCain-Palin ticket, they don’t want to debate the Obama-Biden ticket on issues because they are running on eight more years of what we’ve just seen. And they know it,” Obama said. “As a consequence what they’re going to spend the next seven, eight weeks doing is trying to distract you.

“They’re going to talk about pigs and they’re going to talk about lipstick, they’re going to talk about Paris Hilton, they’re going to talk about Britney Spears. They will try to distort my record and they will try to undermine your trust in what the Democrats intend to do.”

Watch Obama on Hurricane Ike

Asked why the campaign responded differently than it did around hurricane Gustav, Obama Senior Strategist David Axelrod said,“We have enormous concern for people down there … that’s why we canceled “Saturday Night Live” … but these people also came out because they’re really concerned about the future of the country and he [Obama]wanted to talk about those issues.”

Listen: Obama camp conference call Saturday slams McCain

The McCain campaign criticized Obama for showing “zero restraint” given the storm and said “today’s attacks mark a new low from Barack Obama.”

The Obama camp’s response was even tougher. “We will take no lectures from John McCain who is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. He runs a campaign not worthy of the office his is seeking.”

At the start of his rally, Obama did put politics aside, encouraging the thousands of voters in attendance to think about those in Texas dealing with the fall out from hurricane Ike.

“I’ve been on the phone with the head of FEMA and mayor of Houston and others who are trying to grapple with this tremendous storm,” he said “I know that one of the things that we’ve seen after Gustav, one of the things that we saw after Katrina and Rita is that during difficult times during moments of tragedy the American people come together. We may argue we may differ but we are all Americans.”

The enormous storm prompted the Obama campaign late Friday night to cancel their candidate’s appearance on the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” saying that it was “no longer appropriate” given what Gulf residents were facing. Obama’s running-mate Senator Joe Biden also was supposed to attend the Manchester rally but did not.

However, unlike two weeks ago when hurricane Gustav was bearing down on Louisiana,

Obama heads back to Chicago for the weekend before heading out Monday to Colorado.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. michael minorgan

    so much for respectable campaigns Mr McCain..yours has gone down the drain..or should we say cesspool

    September 13, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Paula

    John McCain still trying to distract us by using the storm as a crutch.

    Sad, sad, sad.

    September 13, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Raph

    As the polls go ,so does Obama.He refused to debate mccain in the town halls now he is shouting everywhere he goes that mccain-palin ticket doesn't want to debate about issues,what a sleazy human being.Are we going to call out all these media outlets and their colleagues in the print for damaging the reputation of this noble country?.Americans are we going to sit down and watch while the sleazy liberal media dictate who will be the leader of the free world?Look around the world and see the happenings in iran,north korea,russia.The stakes are too high to elect a chalatan and media crowned prince without a crown to be the commander in chief.Americans do we want to elect a puppet?

    September 13, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Kanadian Kid

    Haha!! Wow the Obama Camp's response to the McCain camp was pure gold! Shut them up good! Well done! Keep it up and back to the issues!

    No More Disctractions, No More McCain!

    September 13, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. tainopower

    Every time that I see obama on tv is always talking about president Bush. is president Bush running for a 3rd term? I will vote for president Bush if he is. Obama you are not running against president Bush. you Better get up to date and start the campaign against McCain. And stop confusing me. who’s running for president? So far I know is McCain against obama. But obama against Bush?

    September 13, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Zion

    McCain, during the last storm, you didn't even cancel your circus. Come on. The American people are so much more intelligent than this.

    September 13, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Willy Brown

    Obama go down to Texas and talk to that storm I am sure you'd knock it down to a rumble of thunder with your "change" speech!

    September 13, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    Good, Sen. OBAMA, has to stick to the issues....... and not allow himself to become distracted by the GOP attacks, LIES and dysfunction!

    Come on, Sen. OBAMA, please talk about the Bush/Cheney/McCain legacy:



    SPENDING, EVEN TODAY, $1.38 BILLION .......A ...........DAY....IN IRAQ!





    September 13, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. DWoods

    If you think Obama is at a "new low", what about that kindergarten remark about teaching our 6 year-old sex education? All the news media, talk shows, and Americans know that was a blatant lie. So do you! Let's talk issues and a better life for all Americans.

    September 13, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Jack

    Thank You. The Obama Campaign is finally slamming McShame. McCain and his campaign will say and do anything to gain advantage. They have changed their message pre and post the RNC convention. They have spewed lies, misrepresented the Democratic position on Taxes, Immigration, Economy etc and will go down in flames come November.

    They McCain Campaign is a desperate, vile and disgusting group.

    Is this the change they plan on bringing to DC?

    September 13, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. lynn

    Why wasn't McCain in Texas for a photo op?

    September 13, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Puff

    Yeah, accept you won't debate him because you are such a girlie man. He has been wanting debates for months and you are too scared. Just go back to Chicago where you belong.

    September 13, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Tom in CA

    ..what's everyone doing? Watching NCAA football?

    September 13, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. David

    Where was Mr. Any Time, Any Where when McCain was asking for 10 townhall debates? Now that he's behind in the polls he wants to debate? Suck it up and stop the whining! I'm sure McCain would love to debate you. He will crush you on every issue. That's why you wouldn't debate in the first place.

    September 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Bob

    John McCain is a liar and I just sent him a message to that effect. How else can one explain is 'ad' about immigration reform?

    September 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Joseph

    When the lies come back to roost, it is nice to McCain can only respond with another round of faux outrage since they can't defend the smears they've spewed onto the airwaves.

    As McCain puts it so delicately, "Campaigns are rough things."

    Get over it, Tucker! McCain's powder is all wet at this point . . . I guess he should have held onto his integrity a bit longer.

    September 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. REA

    To think of the fact that mccain/Palin running this country the United States is frighten Palin seem to say everything mccain tell her to say so she is also willing to do whatever mccain tell her to do without a BLINK The best choice for the President and Vice President of the United States is Obama/Biden God Bless America

    September 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Let me say how sad I am about the heartache and pain that the
    recent hurricanes have brought to my fellow Americans. However,
    they should be encouraged and know that a change is coming.

    Barack Obama/Joseph Biden

    September 13, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Sean

    Good for you Obama: tip that Swift Boat Over, with MCCain in it!

    September 13, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Talk about sleaziest campaign in modern history? shows that obama is still green, Obama is the king of sleaze.

    obama disses John McCain an American Hero Icon. That is unbelievable. Some gave all to serve their country, while Obama gave a speech.

    The McCain campaign criticized Obama for showing “zero restraint” given the storm and said “today’s attacks mark a new low from Barack Obama.”

    But Obama is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history,

    His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. Obama runs a campaign not worthy of the office his is seeking.”

    September 13, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Last Honest Man

    What Record is Obama referring to? He has no record!!!!

    September 13, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Gloria

    For the John McCain camp we the voters need to hear the real issues because the economy is bad right now and we do not know when things are going to get better.stop running all these lies about Obama , all we care about is the truth and who is going to help us

    September 13, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. laurie lewis

    Honestly, can McCain stoop ANY LOWER than he already has? Some maverick. His campaign, his staff, their constant outright lies, their lack of ethics totally disgust me.

    September 13, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. sal

    You already have the victory

    Manifestation of it will heal a nation

    Unbeliefs thinking shall be silenced

    Obama Biden,,,, with Bill Clinton help will transform the world.

    between now and election day is a formality. LOL

    Powered by the people

    September 13, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Jonathon

    Don't reward 8 years of lies and theft with 4 more years. We must draw the line and stop this here and now.

    September 13, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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